Tipton’s Hydropower and Jobs Act Signed into Law


From US Representative Scott Tipton’s office:

Rep. Scott Tipton’s (CO-03) effort to increase the production of clean, renewable hydropower and create jobs is now public law. The President signed Tipton’s Hydropower and Rural Jobs Act (H.R. 678) into law today, which will create rural jobs by expanding the production of clean renewable hydropower, including jobs in Colorado. The bill passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support earlier this year and the Senate this month with unanimous consent.

“This new law provides a tremendous opportunity for clean, renewable energy production in Colorado and across the nation. It will create jobs right here at home, and provide a supply of reliable and affordable power, lowering energy costs,” said Tipton. “I’m honored that I was able to lead the charge for this commonsense effort that received broad and bipartisan support at the local, state and national levels. Hydropower is the cheapest and cleanest source of electricity available through modern technology, and a key component of the all-of-the-above energy platform that I continue to strongly support. With the signing of the Hydropower and Rural Jobs Act into law, we have made headway in the effort to establish American energy independence and put people back to work.”

By eliminating duplicative environmental analysis on existing manmade Bureau of Reclamation conduits (pipes, ditches, and canals) that have received a full review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the law streamlines the regulatory process and reduces administrative costs for the installation of small hydropower development projects within those conduits. In doing so, the law encourages increased small hydropower development, which will create new rural jobs in Colorado, add clean, affordable electricity to the grid to power homes and communities, modernize infrastructure, and supply the federal government with additional revenues.

The Hydropower and Rural Jobs Act was endorsed by the Family Farm Alliance, the National Water Resources Association, the Colorado River District, and the American Public Power Association, among others.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reported that H.R. 678 has no cost to taxpayers, and returns revenues to the treasury. The Interior Department has identified at least 28 Bureau of Reclamation canal sites in Colorado, and 373 nationwide, that could be developed for hydropower purposes.

Sens. John Barrasso (WY), Jim Risch (ID), Mike Enzi (WY), and Mike Crapo (ID), carried the companion bill in the Senate.

From KJCT8.com (Gina Esposito):

These two bills will aid companies across Colorado who are looking to get involved with the renewable energy.

Spokesperson for Senator Mark Udall, Mike Saccone said, “The benefit of both of these bills is it will make it easier for hydropower projects in Colorado and throughout the country, move forward.”

Representative Scott Tipton said, “This is going to put the power in our local water district. To be able to make that determination and make it now cost effective for them to be able to take advantage of hydro electric power.”

David Priske, Engineer for the Ute Water Conservancy District said, “The district is considering a 180-kilowatt hydropower generator at our existing water treatment plant to help offset our electrical demands.”

Priske said since hydropower could produce more energy than the district needs, excess would be sold to Xcel Energy. “So if we can come to some agreement with Xcel, we are ready to move forward with the project,” said.

From The Denver Post (Allison Sherry):

President Barack Obama signed into law Friday two hydropower bills supported by Republican Rep. Scott Tipton and Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette that streamlines the regulatory process and makes it easier to develop the clean energy…

DeGette’s legislation is broader and directs the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to study streamlining the permitting process for all small hydropower and conduit projects.

More hydroelectric coverage here and here.

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